The preseason comes to a close this week for NFL teams with a slate of games Thursday, but first they must pare their rosters down to 75 players by Tuesday afternoon.
The Giants will practice Monday and Tuesday and then travel to New England for their final preseason game vs the Patriots Thursday night.
Head coach Tom Coughlin told reporters on his conference call Sunday that he did not know if WR Victor Cruz (calf) would practice this week, meaning Cruz will not have played a down in a preseason game this summer. Cruz had been in the midst of a comeback from knee surgery, and will now make his return in the regular season, quite possibly against Dallas in Week One.
"Not as far as I know. I have not been told that," Coughlin said when asked if Cruz will practice this week. "Progress… yes but he has not definitely been given the green light."
Other injured players were in question, too. DE Robert Ayers, Jr. injured his ankle/Achilles, rookie OL Bobby Hart has a knee and reserve DB Josh Gordy a hip. Coughlin had no real updates on any of the them.
"You know what—I don’t know a whole lot more," the coach said. "They were all sent out to get MRIs and that type of thing this afternoon. I’m not sure what the… I haven’t heard anything back. Let me put it that way at this point in time."
C Weston Richburg (knee) remains day-to-day and the offensive line continues to be an amorphous group that Coughlin, like most of us, needs to see more of.
“In spurts, we did fine and other times we didn’t do fine,” Coughlin said. “We didn’t keep as clean a pocket as we’ve been keeping back there in the two previous games. I give credit to the Jet defensive line and linebackers; they did a very good job in terms of pressure. And as I’ve said, some things we did well and other things we didn’t do as well, so one of the objectives for us in the game was, knowing full well what we were going up against in terms of pressure, to make sure that that was an exceptional learning experience."
The defense is also a work in progress. Coughlin told no lies when he spoke of the battered unit that is missing it's captain, MLB Jon Beason (knee), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (hand) and a slew of defensive backs.
"I think we all have a ways to go. I don’t think any of it is exactly where it should be. I think that our defense, truth be known, gave up a couple of scores period. We held them under 17 points. We gave them an interception touchdown up and a punt return touchdown up, so we were just as… you know, we had the feeling that, or I had the feeling that they were running the ball and running it with consistency, and doing a good job of that. And we didn’t make as many stops as we want to make, and so from that standpoint we have work to do. But as I say, there weren’t a lot of points scored, but there was some run yardage out there that you like to think you can stop."
There was some players that he did single out for their play, such as rookie DE Owa Odighizuwa, who has had a strong camp and has played well in games.
"He has done a good job to this point in time and we are obviously thinking more and more about how we might be able to utilize him to a further extent, so he is a young man that we have high expectations for." said Coughlin.
The coach was also pleased with rookie safety Landon Collins and Cooper Taylor, a third-year safety who is making a strong push for a starting position.
"Both of those guys made some plays --- Yeah they did," he said. "They got up there and tackled --- Cooper Taylor got a sack coming off the weak side and Collins had some nice plays and some hits he made a nice tackle. They got out there, they played, they got that experience in and no worse for wear."
That, along with the arrival of former Giant Stevie Brown for a physical has given the organization some solace at safety after losing four players for the season this past month.
Brown, who was cut by Houston over the weekend would give the Giants a third veteran in the group, joining Jeromy Miles and Brandon Meriweather. Coughlin was asked why the team felt the need to add at safety right now.
"The thinking behind that is to try and improve that position," he said. "And I’m sure that—this goes for every team in the league—but if there is a player that, in this case we know this player well, but if that player can come in there and help us then we’re interested."